Known Ribozymes

Ribozymes are essentially RNA molecules that are capable of catalyzing a chemical reaction. Many naturally occurring ribozymes either catalyze the hydrolysis of their own phosphodiester bonds or cause the hydrolysis of bonds in other RNA molecules. They also catalyze the aminotransferase activity of the ribosome.

Researchers have developed synthetic ribozymes in the laboratory that are able to catalyze their own synthesis under specific conditions. One example is the RNA polymerase ribozyme. Using mutagenesis and selection, scientists have managed to develop and improve variants of the Round-18 polymerase ribozyme from 2001.

The best variant so far is called B6.61, which can add up to 20 nucleotides to a primer template over a period of 24 hours, at which point hydrolysis of the ribozyme’s  phosphodiester bonds causes it to decompose.

Some examples of naturally occurring ribozymes include:

  • RNase P
  • Peptidyl transferase 23S rRNA
  • GIR1 branching ribozyme
  • Leadzyme
  • Group I and Group II introns
  • Hairpin ribozyme
  • Hammerhead ribozyme
  • HDV ribozyme
  • VS ribozyme
  • Mammalian CPEB3 ribozyme
  • CoTC ribozyme
  • glmS ribozyme

Since ribozymes have been discovered, the naturally occurring ribozymes have fallen into two main groups: large ribozymes and small ribozymes. Large ribozymes splice flanking sequences together, while small ribozymes cleave conserved sites that exist within their own molecule. One main example of a large ribozyme is the first one to be discovered, which is the Tetrahymena group I intron. Examples of small ribozymes include the hammerhead, the hairpin, the hepatitis delta ribozymes and varkud satellite RNA.

Large ribozymes may have up to 3000 nucleotides and can generate reaction products with a free 3’- hydroxyl and 5’-phosphate group. Small ribozymes on the other hand, usually contain 30 to 150 nucleotides and generate products with a 2’-3’-cyclic phosphate and a 5’-hydroxyl group.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, July 20). Known Ribozymes. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 22, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Known Ribozymes". News-Medical. 22 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Known Ribozymes". News-Medical. (accessed June 22, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Known Ribozymes. News-Medical, viewed 22 June 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.